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Federer Edges Raonic; Faces Youzhny In Halle SFs

Halle, Germany

Youzhny© Bongarts/Getty ImagesMikhail Youzhny advanced to his second semi-final of the season in Halle.

World No. 3 Roger Federer went down to the wire with fifth seed Milos Raonic at the Gerry Weber Open Friday, edging the Canadian 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach the Halle semi-finals.

Though Raonic rifled 25 aces, Federer was more effective on serve, winning 83 per cent of his second serve points, to Raonic’s 53 per cent success rate. Federer prevailed in one hour and 59 minutes to defeat the World No. 21 in a three-set contest for the third time this season.

“It was the third time in three or four months that we played each other. We know each other a bit better now,” said Federer. “But it still makes it as difficult to break each other’s serve. Somehow I had the feeling that it was going to be 7-6 in the third. I just hoped it was going to be in my favour. Of course, I’m satisfied that I came through. It was difficult.”

Federer, looking to win his sixth title at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court event in Halle, has advanced to the semi-final stage at nine of the 10 tournaments he’s played this year. He lifted trophies in Rotterdam (d. del Potro), Dubai (d. Murray), Indian Wells (d. Isner) and Madrid (d. Berdych).

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For a place in the final, Federer will face Mikhail Youzhny, who topped Radek Stepanek 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

“It will be more tactical like the match against Mayer. So, I’m well prepared,” Federer said. “I played a good match against Mikhail in Wimbledon last year. We had four tough sets and it was close. I’ll have to play extremely well.”

Youzhny went just three for 15 on his break opportunities, but converted the only break point chance in the final set to seal his fourth win in six meetings with Stepanek in two hours and 29 minutes.

The Russian is bidding for his second title of the season. He captured a Zagreb double in February, beating Lukas Lacko for his eighth ATP World Tour trophy and partnering Marcos Baghdatis to the doubles crown. The 29-year-old Youzhny improved to a 19-8 season record and is looking to win his first grass-court singles title. He has three in doubles on grass, including two in Halle.

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